SOURCE: Travel Michigan

Travel Michigan

March 03, 2011 09:15 ET

Spring Up for Pure Michigan Wine and Culinary Delights

LANSING, MI--(Marketwire - March 3, 2011) - As temperatures rise with spring in the air, Michigan's culinary landscape is bursting forth with flavors and adventures. April is Michigan Wine Month and more than 80 wineries and vineyards are celebrating the fruit of the vine. Foodies can look forward to major restaurant events to savor great food for a fraction of regular menu prices during Detroit Restaurant Week, April 1-10, and Ann Arbor Restaurant Week slated for June 12-17, 2011.

Wining Around Michigan

The award-winning Chateau Chantal winery on the Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City offers international cooking classes as well as tours and B & B packages. You don't have to be a lodging guest to sign up for a class. Learn about the techniques of Italian cooking on April 2. On April 23, Chateau Chantal offers a Wine Immersion Seminar to learn about pairing wine with food and includes a peasant lunch and six-course dinner.

The Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail will host its Michigan Wine Celebration on April 9-10 with eight participating wineries. Each winery on the trail will offer an appetizer or dessert paired with their featured wine.

Master Sommeliers Claudia Tyagi and Madeline Triffon host the Michigan Wine Showcase April 11 at Northern Lakes Seafood Co. in Bloomfield Hills. Sample a wide variety of award-winning Michigan wines and culinary creations from Executive Chef Jamie Kalmus.

On April 15-16, staged in Novi at the Suburban Collection Showplace (formerly Rock Financial Showplace), the Michigan International Wine Expo is a unique fine wine and tasting experience. Enjoy wine tasting and seminars along with light hors d'oeuvres from the area's premier restaurants. 

Plan a visit to Fennville and reserve a seat for the Salt of the Earth Dinner Series. A five-course dinner April 20 is paired with wines from Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery; and Bell's Brewery is featured May 11.

Spring Sip & Savor with the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association, April 30-May 1. This wine trail event kicks off the season with a brunch-themed wine and food pairing at each of the 19 wineries on the trail. Lodging and event packages are available.

The Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula host Blossom Days on May 14-15 when seven tasting rooms open to sample unreleased wines. Barrel and Reserve wines will be showcased along with each winery's standard tasting list.

Head to the hills, and we mean Michigan's Irish Hills for the Great Lakes Wine Fest on May 21 from noon to 9 p.m., at the Michigan International Speedway. This unique setting will showcase more than 100 varieties of Michigan wine and beer plus seminars on wine and food. Tickets are $25 in advance and include $10 worth of tasting tickets.

The annual Ella Sharp Wine & Art Festival in Jackson on June 11 includes an art fair, Pioneer Wine Trail wines and tasting booths, music and wine for sale by the bottle or case. Admission is free; tasting passes are $12 in advance, $15 at the event.

Weko Beach in Bridgman is the site of the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival on June 18. Savor award-winning wines, good music and a spectacular Michigan sunset over Lake Michigan. Admission to the festival is $10 for ages 21 and older and includes a souvenir wine tasting glass and live entertainment all day. Ages 13 to 20 are only $5 while 12 and under are free. Advance tickets are $8, and are available at www.ticketweb.com. Wine tasting tickets are $1 for a taste and $5 to $7 for a glass.

The 6th annual Waterfront Wine Festival on the shores of Lake Michigan in Harbor Springs on June 25 features wine tastings from the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsula as well as wines from around the world. Unlimited wine tastings are included in the ticket price as well as complimentary appetizers and entertainment. Advance tickets are $20 and tickets the day of the event are $30.

Sip & Stay
Get away to Michigan's beautiful wine country regions at Bed & Breakfasts or other properties with special overnight packages that combine wine tasting and lodging, including:

  • Black Star Farms: The epitome of agricultural tourism destinations offers several packages at the charming Black Star Inn.

  • Chateau Chantal: This elegant "old world" inn on the Old Mission Peninsula offers midweek B & B specials in April.

  • Chateau Grand Traverse: The Inn at Chateau Grand Traverse is perched high on a hill overlooking vineyards and orchards with spectacular views of Grand Traverse Bay.

  • Grand Traverse Resort: Wine Tour Weekend Packages include two-night accommodations and shuttle service to three Traverse City area wineries, and are available April 8-10, May 20-22 and June 17-19.

  • Grey Hare Inn Vineyard Bed & Breakfast: Experience a working farm, vineyard and B & B reminiscent of Southern France on the Old Mission Peninsula north of Traverse City. The inn offers the Romantic Wine Country Getaway/Pamper Package.

  • The Kingsley House Bed & Breakfast: This Saugatuck inn teams up with Fenn Valley Winery for a Wine Tasting Six-Course Gourmet Italian Dinner Package, including lodging on April 2.

Be a Pure Michigan Cook
Along with several spring food festivals, visitors can cook up a culinary weekend retreat at farms, inns and resorts. Festivals range from Maple Syrup festivals in Shepherd and Vermontville to three strawberry festivals in Alden, Belleville and Coldwater. Morel mushrooms, Michigan asparagus, sugar and even fish from the fresh water streams and rivers are also celebrated in April, May and June.

The Artisan Cooking School in Grand Haven offers classes for kids, adults and groups. Learn cooking techniques and how to prepare entrees and desserts, including vegetables, ethnic foods and more. Between courses you can enjoy this popular Beachtown with visits to maritime museums, lighthouses and other Lake Michigan area sites.

Located in Michigan's Thumb, the Farm Restaurant and School of Cooking opens its season in early spring featuring "Heartland" foods. Book a culinary weekend for a hands-on course designed for the experienced and inexperienced cook. Lodging is on your own in nearby Port Austin.

Plan a culinary weekend with Learn Great Foods for northern Michigan tastes, cooking classes and chef demonstrations. In May and June farm and chocolate tours will please any palate. In southeastern Michigan Simply Good Kitchen in Birmingham offers up several classes to learn to prepare Italian, French and Mexican fare, plus soups and Polish specialties using fresh Michigan in-season products on selected weekdays.

Quaker Ann uses rare Amish and Quaker recipes for cooking classes at the Pioneer School of Home Cooking in Harrison near Alpena. Learn bread making, cheese making, cooking chicken & turkey, pies, traditional soups and more. Quaker Farm has a long history of raising chemical/hormone free, pastured meats, produce, free range eggs and raw honey produced with ethical and holistic farming practices. Farm tours require advance notice.

You choose the kitchen arts you'd like to master, from putting up seasonal produce to baking delicious pies and breads, with Bygone Basics' hands-on classes in an historic home in Montague.

Zingerman's Bakehouse in Ann Arbor provides very hands-on training for the home baker. Enroll for informative classes for all ages and skill levels. Baking classes range from a 4-hour session to a 4-day BAKE-cation. Classes sell out fast but there may be time to sign up for Mambo Italiano bread-baking on May 7.

Check out nearly a dozen Michigan foodie tours plus spring festivals and events at www.michigan.org.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture is leading the Michigan Culinary Tourism Alliance, an initiative to raise awareness about the economic benefits of promoting Michigan as a culinary destination. Key partners in the Alliance include Travel Michigan, the Michigan Restaurant Association, the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and the International Culinary Tourism Association. Funding for the project was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More information about the Alliance is available at www.michiganwines.com/CulinaryTourism

Travel Michigan, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, is the State of Michigan's official agency for the promotion of tourism. Travel Michigan markets the state's tourism industry and provides valuable visitor information services. For Michigan travel news and updates, go to michigan.org.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:
    Linda Jones
    Michigan Department of Agriculture
    517-373-9789
    Email Contact

    Dave Lorenz
    Travel Michigan
    517-335-0007
    Email Contact